I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
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No words. None. None at all. I cried and I held my breath and I smiled and I hoped.
Strength and Faith.
This book takes the reader on an intense emotional rollercoaster ride, no doubt about it. Pete's and Ash's struggles continue, in their relationship and with others. Both of them are still flawed and imperfect, but the realism with which they are depicted is outstanding. These two couldn't be more real if they were living next door to me.
The range of emotions the author put her characters (and me) through in this book ranged from fear to hope to grief to frustration to love. And where I might have thought Ash the weaker character, I couldn't have been more wrong. There's a quiet dignity to him that I didn't notice in Slide, and it shines in this book. Boy, does it shine.
Pete gets the short end of the stick here, at least for a long while. There's this big tragic thing that happens (I can't tell you what it is bc spoilers), and it almost completely derails the life that these two have built. Pete puts so much pressure on himself that it was sometimes painful to watch, and I wanted to help him shoulder his burdens. And while his breakdown didn't surprise me, what did was that Ash unbeknownst to me had grown into this pillar of strength I didn't expect to see. Where Pete falters in this book, Ash stays the course, steadily, quietly - and it was beautiful to watch.
Sure, he didn't go it alone, but boy - what a departure from the first book. He tried so hard to help Pete find his way back, slowly, step by step, and I was in awe of him the whole way through the pages.
The writing in this book is, while intense, also slightly tighter than the first one. Garrett Leigh draws beautiful pictures with her words, showing me through her characters' words and actions a wide range of emotions and thoughts. Rich, deeply explored characters including the supporting cast, with realistic, organic flaws - what more could anyone ask for?
By the end of the book, both Pete and Ash are finally free. They persevered, they found their way.
Strength and Faith.
** I received a free ARC from the publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **